Traders lambast plans for ‘piazza-style’ town square in Bridport (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Traders lambast plans for ‘piazza-style’ town square in Bridport
PLANS to make South Street car-free are ‘ridiculous’, say traders.
A straw poll of 70 businesses in the street reveals 95 per cent are against pedestrianisation.
Only four traders declined to support a statement to the town council which pours scorn on the ‘romantic ideal’ of a piazza-style town square, saying: ‘This is England, not Spain’.
Bridport jeweller and clockmaker Richard Batten and Ben Davis of Read’s shoes and clothing store put together the strongly-worded plea against any closure after the debate re-ignited following the enforced closure as a result of the recent gas main works in the town.
Since then a groundswell of opinion has mooted a pedestrianisation scheme with full or partial closing of the road in the Bucky Doo Square area – citing better traffic flows and the chance to create a more pleasant traffic-free amenity.
But businesses stress trading conditions are bad enough with one trader reporting a 70 percent drop in trade when the road was barricaded at its junction with East and West streets.
Traders added: “We think that any proposals to close the street are foolish, dangerous and totally unnecessary and we will fight with determination to ensure these ridiculous plans will not transpire.”
County and town councillor Karl Wallace presented the statement on the traders’ behalf to the meeting of the town council highways and transportation sub-committee. He said: “It is the job of the county, this council and the district council to be a clear conduit and I am happy to work to get the message across on this.”
Bridport’s mayor Coun David Rickard said the overwhelming mood of people on foot is that they would like to see the area pedestrianised ‘on high days and holidays, market days and festivals, at least’.
“After all, no-one in a car is able to buy anything.
“We need to find out what all the issues are and see where a compromise can be drawn.”
Town council surveyor Daryl Chambers said: “This is the ideal opportunity to get opinions out and give all parties the opportunity to put their case.
“There is a lot to consider. The gas works were not a true reflection of a full road closure.”
Councillors agreed to support a plan to create a detailed report on a review of town centre traffic management changes including options for South Street and a consultation exercise in the summer.
What do you think? Would Bridport benefit from South Street being closed to traffic? Email your views to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 4.
- Huge downturn in trade and turnover during road closures
- Businesses rely on access and street parking as many customers are elderly and infirm
- Delivery and collection of larger items need vehicular access
- Traffic would be forced into other streets, causing danger to pedestrians and nuisance to residents
- Insurance premiums would rise as traffic-free areas are more prone to crime.